Billing itself as the first broadcast-quality Internet television service, Joost has officially launched commercial operations. Combining more than 150 channels from a variety of content partners with Web 2.0 social networking and community driven features, the new Internet video service from Skype founders Janus Friis and Niklas Zennström is currently a front-runner in the race to capitalize on the burgeoning Internet video market—and, to that end, Joost has aligned itself with more than 30 "blue-chip" brands like Intel, Coca-Cola, Hewlett-Packard, and Nike—eager to get their brands and messages in front of Joosts likely young and technically hip demographic.
Joost’s channel lineup will vary by region depending on copyright ownership and restrictions from content owners. Viewers in the U.S. will have access to most Joost progreamming, although the company is looking to expand its international, regional, and local partnerships around the world.
"Today marks the beginning of an exciting phase for Joost—we are officially open for business," said David Clark, executive vice president of global advertising for Joost, in a statement. "We’re enabling our viewers to share Joost with their friends and family, and we’re working collaboratively with the world’s leading advertisers and agencies to design a new ad model for the next generation of television."
If you want to tune in to Joost…you still have to know somebody. Right now, Joost has thrown up its doors to an unlimited number of friends, family, and colleauges of users to participated in the service’s beta process. Beta testers can send an unrestricted number of invitations to anyone they like to join the service.
Joost has also announced new content partnerships. After beefing up the advertising for their new venture last week, Joost today announced a new set of content partners. This time around they’ve scored Turner Broadcasting, Hasbro, the National Hockey League, Sony Pictures Television and Sports Illustrated.
"From compelling news magazines and cool animation to current and classic sports games, comedy and entertainment, the Joost platform is a destination for audiences looking for great programming, a flexible entertainment experience, and a community with which to share that experience," said Yvette Alberdingk Thijm, executive vice president of content strategy and acquisition for Joost, in a statement.
Right. So what shows are we getting?
Turner will be providing episodes of Aqua Teen Hunger Force and Robot Chicken later this week. CNN programs like Anderson Cooper 360° and Larry King Live will be showing up later in the month, along with some regional programming from the Turner South division.
Sony Pictures Television is going for nostalgia by digging out programs from three decades. Charlie’s Angels,Spiderman,Starsky & Hutch,SWAT,NewsRadio, and Who’s the Boss? are all slated to appear on Joost.
Sports Illustrated will make their Joost debut with a perennial Internet favorite: half-naked women. Video shorts and interviews from this year’s SI Swimsuit photo shoots will be on Joost soon, with full-length Swimsuit programs and additional behind-the-scenes footage from other recent shoots available later this month.
The National Hockey League will broadcast vintage games along with replays and highlights from the regular season and Stanley Cup Playoff games.
Hasbro is devoting a channel to each of its iconic franchises, Transformers and G.I. Joe. They will both air full-length episodes from the original animated shows.